While Microsoft's Windows Mobile Marketplace might feel like a “me-too” version of Apple's popular App Store, the company is looking to innovate in at least one direction: the number of installs a single purchase buys you.
A purchase on the Apple App Store gives you the right to install and use the application on a single iPhone – although it's possible to gain additional installs by using multiple handsets all configured with the same iTunes user information and credit card details. The Windows Mobile Marketplace, however, will give you the right to install your purchases on up to five Windows Mobile 6.5-based devices as standard.
As reported by ComputerWorld
, the move marks the first time in the mobile application marketplace that a company has acknowledged the fact that many people have multiple handsets – often one for work and one for personal use.
Microsoft aren't just helping the businessmen, however: handsets belonging to friends and family members can be authorised within the system in order to allow purchased applications to be freely shared – up to the five device limit, of course. Purchases will also be protected by a no-quibble 24 hour refund guarantee.
While the move is likely to be welcomed by consumers, developers aren't nearly so keen: with the possibility of sharing applications between friends and family, the potential market for a given application shrinks dramatically. Whether this potential loss of sales will turn developers off the Mobile Marketplace even before it launches remains to be seen.
Do you like the idea of being able to install your purchases on up to five devices – including those of your friends – without breaking any licensing restrictions, or is Microsoft merely getting desperate in its attempts to out-shine Apple's App Store? Share your thoughts over in the forums[